The height of summer is celebrated in picnics, preferably of the spontaneous kind where picnic-makers pack the beginnings of a sun-grown feast into their baskets. The meal is woven together in the assembly of people at a particularly beautiful meeting place, perhaps the strike of a match on coals, random dribs and drabs of metal and plastic picnic-ware, and a fine, imperfectly timed unveiling of flavors on brightly colored cloth – to be savored with the easy setting of the sun.
A quick meal for any occasion involves peanut butter, noodles and whatever veggies are on-hand. In twenty minutes, I sparked the stovetop, garnished my dish and was out the door to Triangle Park, two blocks from Frisch Kitchen, where a merry band of friends had already tucked into the sangria around the picnic table.
If you have leftovers, these noodles are delightful served cold over the next several days (use quinoa or rice noodles for a gluten-free option). Buy summer squash, also known as zucchini, from your local farmers market or Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share. I get mine from Full Plate Farm Collective. Fine a fresh, local source near you on www.farmplate.com or www.localharvest.org.
- Butter or Olive oil - 3 tablespoons
- Garlic - 1 tablespoon, minced
- Summer squash - 3 cups, cut into matchsticks
- Whole wheat spaghetti - 1 box or packet of whole wheat spaghetti; substitute with quinoa or rice noodles for gluten-free
- Peanut Butter - 1/2 cup
- Water - 1/2 cup warm water
- Whole coconut milk - 2 tablespoons
- Lemon juice - 1/2 lemon, freshly squeezed
- Garlic - 2 large cloves, grated
- Honey - 2 tablespoons
- Hot sauce - Dollop of hot sauce, or as much heat as you want
- Sea salt - 1/4 teaspoon
- Black pepper - Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- chopped mint or cilantro, chili flakes and crushed peanuts -
- Bring a heavily salted pot of water to boil. Add the pasta, and cook according to the instructions on the packet. (Or, try this fun "done" test that Bobby taught me: throw a noodle against the wall - if it sticks, it's done).
- In a large skillet or pan, melt the butter or olive oil over low heat. Add the garlic and simmer just until the butter or oil becomes aromatic, and before the garlic begins to brown. Add the squash and toss in the pan. Cover with a lid and let it slowly become tender over medium-low heat.
- While the noodles are cooking and the summer squash is simmering, make the peanut sauce.
- Combine the peanut butter, 1/4 cup water, coconut milk, lemon juice, garlic, honey, hot sauce, salt and pepper in a small pot or pan. Melt the sauce over medium-low heat. Add more water slowly to thin the sauce, and even more than the suggested amount to really thin the sauce.
- Drain the pasta and toss immediately with the peanut sauce. Toss in the summer squash. Garnish and serve!
Allergens: dairy, milk, peanuts